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Puja Shah, co-founder of Aurus, a relatively young and successful fine jewellery brand, is also the creative force behind the recently launched online jewellery brand MOI. She shares her insights on building a differentiated experience for online buyers and retaining Indianness while staying relevant to a global audience

Armed with a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, US, and experience working with museums, including the NY Metropolitan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Shah ventured into the Indian jewellery market with Aurus in 2013. Credited with creating a signature design identity, the brand swiftly gained market share despite the dominance of legacy family jewellery brands.

“We also saw a lot of demand from the global audience for Aurus as it gets 70% orders from international markets via NRIs. It made us optimistic about launching MOI on a digital platform to present the jewellery in a more acceptable and relatable way”

Puja Shah, Co-Founder, Aurus and MOI

Buoyed by the overwhelming response, Pooja and Kunal Shah (Co-founder) envisioned expanding the brand’s signature style, an intriguing blend of classic and modern, to MOI, which targets the daily fine jewellery market. Launched in 2019, MOI’s individualistic designs are already drawing discerning clients from far and wide, including international markets, Bollywood and royalty, as they told to The Retail Jeweller India.

MOI’s #Meninmoi campaign

Edited Excerpts:

Maithili Patange (MP): What inspired you to launch MOI, and what differentiates it from your other brand, Aurus? What market opportunities did you see when you started this brand?

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Puja Shah (PS): The inception of MOI stemmed from the thought that jewellery should be easily accessible, like clothes. Unlike Aurus’ exquisite pieces tailored for Indian occasions, MOI’s vision was to cater to contemporary women’s desire for everyday luxury, which they can scroll from the office or during leisure. We also saw a lot of demand from the global audience for Aurus as it gets 70% of orders from international markets via NRIs. It made us optimistic about launching MOI on a digital platform to present the jewellery in a more acceptable and relatable way.

“Moi creates a modern narrative for today’s woman who takes pride in India’s rich historical past in the realm of jewellery and more, particularly for the international audience, which is a mix of both NRI and western customers, 60 to 40 respectively, MOI is a modern version of what people know as India”

MP: Aurus stands out in a market cluttered with similar designs. What is the product and pricing strategy for MOI?

PS: MOI is an extension of Aurus’s design language and takes from the 20 years of craft lineage of Aurus, but has a global design palette, unlike Aurus which is an Indian occasion-wear jewellery brand. The brand’s essence lies in moulding the classic Indian style with a touch of modernity. Moi creates a modern narrative for today’s woman who takes pride in India’s rich historical past in the realm of jewellery and more, particularly for the international audience, which is a mix of both NRI and western customers, 60 to 40 respectively, MOI is a modern version of what people know as India. It is a slice of India, but in a language relatable to them. While retaining our design philosophy, we have worked around the usage of materials so that the pieces are within an affordable and impulse range of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2,70,000.

MP: What are your key marketing strategies for both online and offline?

PS: We utilize various digital platforms such as Meta and Google ads to extend our brand’s presence and connect with Western audiences. Although we haven’t explored traditional influencer partnerships extensively, we consider them judiciously. Our target demographic, primarily aged 25-28, responds positively to digital marketing efforts. Moi, resonating with Aurus customers, has gained over 2000 customers in India and the US. We host pop-up events throughout the year, with 15 held last year, attracting customers interested in gifting and everyday jewellery options.

MP: What were your brand’s initial challenges in establishing a strong customer base?

PS: A decade ago, India began witnessing a shift in the perception of fine jewellery, emerging beyond the confines of weddings into smaller events. As a young brand, we faced the hurdle of building credibility in an industry dominated by established players with centuries-old legacies. While progress has been made, earning the trust of new customers remains an ongoing challenge inherent in the online marketplace.

MP: Could you talk about MOI’s website experience? Are there any unique features or innovations in MOI’s online platform that set it apart from competitors?

PS: Our website features around 400 carefully chosen products, refreshed regularly to maintain a dynamic inventory. We prioritize curated design over overwhelming options, occasionally accommodating customization requests that align with our aesthetic. Each Moi piece represents more than just materials, ensuring a meaningful purchase experience. We introduce new collections almost every two months, our average selling price being 1 lakh as of now.

MP: What percentage of MOI’s business comes from online sales versus offline retail channels? What are your future plans?

PS: MOI mainly operates in the online domain, with offline retail channels complementing its digital footprint. Approximately 85% of MOI’s business comes from online sales and 15% comes from its physical stores. Presently, MOI operates two flagship stores in Ahmedabad and Chennai. However, the structure is more inclined towards the digital side of the business. Stores are currently an extension of that journey where the customer wants to meet in person for a custom query (in Aurus) or to see the pieces in person (in Moi). MOI remains open to exploring omnichannel opportunities in the future.

Written by Maithili Patange

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